College of Education > News and Publications > 2019: 01-03 news > Heard on campus – Abdulla Puckett, doctoral student at UCLA

Heard on campus – Abdulla Puckett, doctoral student at UCLA

Abdulla Puckett, a doctoral student at the University of California at Los Angeles, addressing a group of nearly 140 individuals who gathered for the Penn State Prison Education and Reentry Summit on March 29-30 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Abdulla Puckett, a doctoral student at the University of California at Los Angeles, addressing a group of nearly 140 individuals who gathered for the Penn State Prison Education and Reentry Summit on March 29-30 at the Nittany Lion Inn."Building more prisons does not reduce crime. When you take people away from everything and put them in cages for years with no resources and with nothing that will help them become a better person, what are they going to do when they get out? We have choice. We can help people become more productive and skilled, and provide them with what will make them a benefit to society, or it will be our fault when they get out and they rob us at gun point, break into our houses and sell drugs to our kids. That is what I was doing before I got the support and access, and it's what I would be doing now if I didn't have those supports. And that is what we need to realize."

— Abdulla Puckett, a doctoral student at the University of California at Los Angeles, addressing a group of nearly 140 individuals who gathered for the Penn State Prison Education and Reentry Summit on March 29-30 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Puckett, who spent 15 years in prison, shared his personal story of incarceration and rehabilitation. After being released from prison, Puckett said he immediately enrolled in a community college and then attended UC Berkley, where he received support from the Underground Scholars Initiative, a program that provides support for students affected by mass incarceration, imprisonment and detainment.